Alan Young was the footballer from Swindon who did good, now he’s the chief commercial officer at one of the best-known names in financial services, John Charcol, he talks to The Mortgage Lender about his journey.
Two weeks after Alan Young, Chief Commercial Officer of John Charcol, left school, he made his debut in the Championship as a centre forward for Swindon Town. “I was the local boy done good,” he says.
He got his England under 17’s cap in the European Championships in 2001, where England went out in the semi-finals. After a stint at Celtic he was sold back to his home-town team, Swindon Town.
But in 2004 he broke and dislocated his ankle and had to retire from professional football.
At just 21 and with his career of choice cruelly cut short he didn’t know what to do next.
“My Dad, Andy Young, was in financial services, he headed up the Sesame AR Network and then TBMC, he spoke to one of his friends, Stephen Knight at GMAC, who gave me a job in the call centre.
“It was a bit of a shock, going from training for two hours a day to being in a call-centre all day,” he says.
After six months he moved into a role as a telephone-based business development manager and had clearly caught the attention of the GMAC management.
“I was called into Godfrey Blight’s office and he asked me what I knew about Nottingham as there was a BDM role based there. He also asked if I had a wife, or children, which at that point I didn’t, so
I upped sticks and moved to Nottingham,” he explains. In a new place with no familiar faces Alan soon made a name for himself in his patch, which covered Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Stoke.
He says the brokers became his friends, and his social life, and he also earned the accolade of being the number one BDM for GMAC every year he was based there.
After four years in the job he moved into a sales role at annuity specialist, MGM Advantage. But it didn’t last long because he was headhunted to join a start-up, ULS Technology, where he took on the role of national account manager.
Three years later he was promoted to head of sales and quickly moved up further into the role of head of corporate development as the company floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 2014.
A managed exit from the business took place over the next couple of years, while he was fulfilling the role of business development director.
And in March 2017 he joined John Charcol as head of partnerships. Fast forward to this year and he is now chief commercial officer – a job in which “anything to do with making money comes by me.”
It’s a role that he feels completes the mortgage cycle for him.
“I started at a lender, GMAC, then moved onto ULS Technology, which was the conveyancing part of the home-buying jigsaw and now I’m at a broker, so I’ve experienced all of the different elements that make-up the successful mortgage process,” he says.
But while he’s witnessed lots of change in the industry – he says it’s never been harder to get a mortgage than it is now – he predicts a bright future for brokers like John Charcol.
“I still believe mortgages are sold not bought, the human interaction at a stressful and emotional time is what our customers value. And we’ve got all the bases covered so customers can talk to us when and where it suits them, face to face, online and over the phone.”
And the future for buy to let mortgages? “There’s still a market out there for Buy-to-Let, it’s coming out of the other end of the regulatory changes, so it is more settled – but that means advice about the right lender and right structure for a landlord has never been more important.”